Sep 14, 2015

Meeting of the Rotary Club of Eureka
September 14, 2015

Lunch was raviolis, fried chicken, corn, garlic bread, our usual lovely salad bar, and berry cake.

"The Cartel"
Ziggy Ziegenfuss led us in the Pledge of allegiance, and Tom McMurray led our invocation.  We observed a moment of silence for Ron Nicholson (Valley of the Moon) who passed away recently.  Ron had been involved with our own Kim Bauriedel in our numerous projects with our Siberian Rotary clubs since 2001.  Tom also asked us to keep Steve Brodhag (SW Eureka) in our thoughts as he faces some health challenges.

Liana Simpson was our only visiting, well kind of visiting, Rotarian.

Andy, our exchange student from Taiwan, joined us.  He is doing well and getting use to Eureka High.  His first host family is Christian and Sally Hill. 

Klark Swan and Carly Robbins joined us from Lost Coast Rotaract.

Birthdays this week:  Jesse Klair, Ken Daer, and Matthew Owen

Anniversaries this week:  Phillip and Alana Nicklas, Dave and Patti Tyson, Corky and Annie Cornwell, Greg and Jenny Bowen, and Hawley and Laura Butterfield

Carol Rische also celebrated her 15 year Rotary Anniversary with our club.

Nancy Dean talked to us about our Sign Smith Fund grants which applications are due for soon. 

President Jay talked about District Governor nominations, and that our club was on the District Nominating committee this year.  If you are interested in pursuing the DG path please contact President Jay.

The Boys and Girls Club’s fundraiser is coming on September 26th.  It will be held at the Elks Club starting at 5pm.  Both President Jay and Dennis Hunter have purchased tables and we are all encouraged to attend.

There is a District 5130 Lake County Fire Relief fun being set up.  More info will be coming soon on how to donate.

Linda Wise turned in her Red Badge for a much more appealing Blue Badge.  Way to go Linda!

President Jay then had Greg Williston on his feet to talk about what he does and his hobbies.  Greg is the Regional Manager for SHN Consulting Engineers and Geologists, which means he manages the project managers.  They work with small communities in Northern California.  They employ 100 folks, 50 of whom are at their Eureka location.  In his spare time Greg works on his house, does woodworking, and polishes fossilized sand dollars with a granite polisher.

Sean McLaughlin was on his feet next.  Sean is the Executive Director at Access Humboldt.  He manages the local benefits of our area cable franchise agreement with Suddenlink.  Access Humboldt is located on the Eureka High campus, has four public access cable channels, and plenty of equipment to help you edit video and content you would like to see on their public access channels.  Sean has long been a supporter of internet adoption efforts and enjoys reading on technology and associated regulations.  He moved to Humboldt from the great State of Hawaii.

Then it was time for a little non-gambling to benefit the County Science Fair.  George Owren won the Four Way Test coin, $10 went to John Winzler, and Greg Seiler missed picking the joker for $350, but received a cool four-way test paperweight.

Our program was from Rosemary Den Ouden.  She is the Director of the Humboldt Independent Physicians Association.  They help to manage health plans, improve health care delivery, and recruit physicians in Humboldt County.  98% of health care providers in Humboldt are members of their organization.

The title of her presentation was the Super Utilization Project.  The premise behind this project was to track and analyze members of our community that are disproportionately frequent users of emergency rooms in our county.  She noted that, as a nation, health care costs have risen 42% in the past 6 years.  Currently this averages about $8000 per year in medical costs per American.  Norway has an annual per capita expense of $4000 for health care related expenses.  The US life expectancy rate, when compared to other industrialized countries, is not commensurately higher as compared to what we are paying per capita. 

The top 1% of health care users are responsible for 20% of the dollars spent nationally on health care.  The top 5% of health care users are responsible for 50% of national health care expenses. 

This Super Utilizer tracking project worked to identify the most frequent users of our local emergency rooms in order to reduce ER utilization, and to understand why they were relying so heavily on the ER’s for their health care needs.  In a 6 month period some of the patients that they tracked had gone to the ER more than 80 times, and average of once every 2.25 days.  The study found that most of the Super Utilizers had a primary care physician.  The average Super Utilizer’s health care expenses, incurred on an annualized basis, were $28,000. 

The study found that assigning a care coordinator to frequent ER users was key in reducing the number of times they went to the ER.  Care coordinators primary role is to translate and clarify for the patient what their options were to achieve a better end result for their medical issues.  This also reduced annualized costs per participant. 

Lastly, she noted that mental health and substance abuse treatment is not available as they need to be in Humboldt County.  This lack of availability of treatment contributes greatly to ER overutilization.

Yours in Rotary Service,

Carlton Nielsen